Credit: CC0 Public Domain In the driest state in the driest continent in the world, South Australian farmers are acutely aware of the impact of water shortages and drought. So, when it comes to irrigation, knowing which method works best is vital for sustainable crop development. Now, new research from the University of South Australia shows that water quality and deficit irrigation schemes each have significant effects on crop development, yield and water productivity—with recycled wastewater achieving the best overall results. Testing different water sources on greenhouse-grown tomatoes, recycled wastewater outperformed both groundwater, and a water mix of 50 percent groundwater and 50 percent recycled wastewater. Researchers also confirmed that growers using deficit irrigation strategies (irrigation that limits watering in a controlled way) performs best at 80 percent capacity, ensuring maximum water efficiency while maintaining excellent crop growth and yield levels. Lead researcher and UniSA Ph.D. candidate, Jeet Chand, says that the findings will provide farmers with valuable insights for productive, profitable and sustainable agricultural management. "Water is an extremely valuable commodity in dry and arid farming regions, making efficient irrigation strategies and alternative water sources essential for agriculture production," Chand says. "Deficit irrigation is a strategy commonly used […]

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